Have you ever had one of those awkward moments when you met a new person and you just didn’t click? For whatever reason, there was no connection or desire to go deeper into the relationship. But yet, if we are to have meaningful and exciting relationships with others, we must get to know the other person more deeply. We must gain a deeper knowledge of who they really are. This truth holds the same when we evaluate our relationship with God. In order to truly grow in our relationship with Him, we must get to know Him better.
This is Paul’s exact prayer for us as believers in Ephesians 1:15-23. He prays that the Holy Spirit would open the eyes of our hearts to know God better. He writes in Ephesians 1:17-19: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
Is that the prayer of your heart? Do you want to know God more deeply and intimately? Are you satisfied with just a casual and distant knowledge of the heavenly Father or do you have a burning desire to know Him more fully?
We live in a culture inundated with overt sexual immorality, lustful images, and temptations galore! How do we as Christians handle sexual temptations? How does a believer combat issues such as internet pornography, flirtations at the workplace, lustful glances, sex before marriage, and outright adultery? The Scriptures give us some ammunition to fight this serious battle.
First of all, there is the negative aspect of fighting sexual sin. In other words, there are numerous commands from the Bible which tells us what NOT to do. Allow me to list a litany of Scriptures and let them speak for themselves. I will highlight the key words in bold and italics.
What unites us as evangelical Christians from so many backgrounds? What common bond do we share that will help us truly impact this nation and world? We may have different worship styles and denominational affiliations, but there is one foundation that binds us together. It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am afraid that we are living in an evangelical culture where the gospel is being assumed and whenever this happens, the next generation almost always suffers a drift into liberalism, pragmatism, and a down-grade on the most important message we are called to share. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul reminds us that the gospel is of first importance. He writes, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
The gospel is good news that we are to announce and receive. The gospel is the glorious message of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and the all the implications that flow from this. The gospel by its very nature is news that is to be broadcast. It is to be announced. It is to be shared, preached, taught, and communicated so that sinners who are under God’s wrath will repent of their sins and trust in Christ alone for salvation.
I want to see northeastern Colorado saturated with the message of the gospel so that rebels can be turned into worshippers. But my concern is that we may be in danger of assuming the gospel. While strategies, and techniques, and programs, and initiatives are very helpful in reaching our area for Christ, we must always come back to the truth that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe (Romans 1:16).
The glorious gospel of grace should evoke within us awe, passion, and thanksgiving. As those who have been saved by God’s amazing grace, we should be the most thankful people on the planet. I want to share with you seven awe-inspiring reasons why I am thankful.
First of all, I am thankful that God sovereignly overcame my spiritual inability and depravity. Romans 3:10-12 says, “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” I was enslaved to sin and Jesus rescued me out of this pit of destruction and granted me saving grace.
Forest Fires.Tornadoes. School Shootings. Conflict in the Middle East. Astronomical gas prices. Bitter presidential primary races. Unemployment. Everywhere we look, there is pain, suffering, confusion, and anxiety. In this midst of all of these overwhelming issues, how can a person truly have joy? The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Biblically, there is a link to God’s glory and our joy.Psalm 43 is a heart-wrenching cry from a man who longed to experience the joy of the Lord.
Psalm 43 reads: “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
This is classic, poignant, and something we all need to here. Our sovereign God does NOT NEED anything!!!
Do you have a category in your mind for a person who professes to be a Christian, but actually possesses no genuine faith in Christ? Is there such a thing as a false convert? In Matthew Chapter 13, Jesus gives two parables that clearly illustrate the fact there are indeed those who may appear to be a follower of Christ, but in reality, have not been soundly saved.
In Matthew 13:18-23, Jesus tells the story of four types of soil which represent four types of people who all hear the word of the gospel. The first three soils hear the word, but it never takes root and therefore produces no fruit. These are people who may appear to receive Christ for salvation or make a public profession of faith, but in actuality, have never been saved. They may have gone through a religious exercise or undergone some type of ritual, but did not experience the transformational power of the gospel deep within their hearts.